Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island is a great place to for an idyllic getaway.AFTER an intense first half of this year, I took my family to visit Magnetic Island for a few days of much-needed time out. Like many Townsville residents, Magnetic Island is practically in our backyard yet we don’t seem to visit nearly enough. The lack of interstate and international travel has had a significant effect on all facets of the island. Photo: Matt Taylor.Every time we make the trek, we are reminded what an absolute gem it is. Have you ever arrived to the island, looked at your partner or family and said: “Why don’t we come here more often?” or “I forgot how nice this place is?” It’s a conversation I seem to have every time I visit this gorgeous part of our region.On this visit, it offered a tiny glimpse of the impact COVID-19 is having on the island’s economy, and the valuable contribution many Townsville locals could make while also enjoying a staycation. With domestic borders shut until July 10 – pending medical review – and our international borders remaining closed for an indefinite period of time, why not make the most of what’s in our backyard? At the end of the day, we’re all Townsville locals and, if we commit to supporting our own region, we can make a real difference to our struggling tourism and hospitality sector. REIQ Townsville Zone Chair Ben KingsberryOne of the most striking things we noticed during our stay was the number of businesses that remain closed or on a restricted operation, despite the fact much of Townsville seems to have weathered the crisis better than expected. With the island’s economy relying heavily on tourism, numbers need to be back on the ferries before they can return to business as usual. More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020The lack of interstate and international travel has had a significant effect on all facets of the island, to the point where rock wallabies at Arcadia are being fed by locals because there isn’t enough tourists to keep them healthy.By supporting our community this way, we can make sure those businesses servicing the island and helping to attract out-of-area tourism will continue to operate for years to come, and further help our chances of moving through this pandemic with as little damage as possible.Remember, our property market is intrinsically linked to our local economy, an economy that improves leads into a healthier property market.So, if you’ve been thinking about getting away for a few days, or if your grander plans have been put on hold thanks to COVID-19, please consider supporting our friends across the water and book a few days away. I promise it will make a real difference – to our economy and your overall wellbeing.